MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Sports

December 7, 2012

Roughers short on tall order; Lady Roughers get even

Tahlequah teams win in own tourney

— TAHLEQUAH — It was perhaps the most intriguing matchup Muskogee will have this year, and in the end, one they let slip away.

SOYLA — which stands for Save Our Youth Leadership Academy — brought its Tulsa-based band of international giants in to the United Keetowah Band Tahlequah Tiger Invitational on Thursday and after trailing by double-digits for most of the middle two quarters, rallied past the Roughers in the final eight minutes for a 54-48 victory.

SOYLA’s starting five stood 7-foot-3, 7-1, 6-5, 6-6 and 6-1 and despite owning a 24-12 edge on the boards in the first half, trailed the Roughers 26-18. Tramal Ivy, Muskogee’s 6-5 junior in the block, had 15 of his 21 points before the break and was eventually able to out-physical the tall but less physical Defenders, who were never able to get on track offensively during that time, going 5-of-19 including 1-of-13 in the second quarter.

But a half-court trap late in the third and into the fourth began paying dividends. The Defenders got the last two baskets if the quarter to close what was a 35-22 deficit to 40-33.

Anthony King had a 3-pointer from the corner with 5:31 left to try and stem the tide at 43-37, but the Roughers, now 1-1, wouldn’t hit another field goal until the final minute. MHS was scoreless until King’s free throw with 2:14 to go, which stopped a 13-0 run for SOYLA, much of it off trap turnovers.

Muskogee coach Josh Berry didn’t see the size disadvantage as a problem, but perhaps it eventually wore on them.

“It came down to our energy level,” he said. “When we play hard and with energy we’re fun to watch.

“They did some things we’ll see in the Frontier Conference in terms of their defensive game with the half-court, three-quarter court stuff. We have to be mentally tough and play right, make the right read and play unselfish. I think we got away from being unselfish which kept us from re-establishing ourselves.”:

Mamadou Lamine, a 7-1 sophomore out of Senegal, finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and one blocked shot to lead SOYLA. Daniel DeCosta, a 6-8 junior reserve out of the Bahamas who helped spur the half-court trap attack, had six fourth-quarter points and finished with 12, all after the opening quarter.

SOYLA (3-1) is not a member of the OSSAA and will play eight games locally and the rest across the country.

“We were finally able to get our rotations right, applied pressure and shot when we could and were able take up some space with that fourth-quarter strategy,” SOYLA coach Roy Pinder said.

Muskogee will play Enid, a lower to Coweta in another opening-round game, at 11:30 this morning in a consolation semifinal.

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